February 29, 2012

White privilege will end soon

Bill Maher Rips Republicans for Their Unprecedented Disrespect Of Obama

By Jason EasleyThe reality is that Republicans were not just angry that they lost the presidential election. After the economy collapsed, this was expected. No, the right hates President Obama for a different reason. Obama represents something that Carter, Clinton, LBJ, JFK, Truman, and FDR never did. Obama represents a threat to their power as white men.

Every time his conservative foes see President Obama, they are reminded that our nation is changing. When the see the black man occupying the White House they are confronted by their loss of power. The White Republicans feel entitled to the presidency. It is their unfailing belief in their own superiority that is the basis behind their obsession with criticizing Obama as incompetent at every turn. If they can only make America belief that the black president is incompetent then they can be restored to their god given position of lord and master over us all.

It’s not Obama’s dark skin, but what his dark skin represents that evokes hatred without bounds and limits. President Obama’s power of them and the realization that their status as a privileged class is coming to an end are the real reasons why they disrespect President Obama.

Hatred is the fuel of fear, and for white conservatives their hatred of Obama masks the fear attached to the realization that their America is never coming back.
Tim Wise on White Resentment in a Multiracial Society

By Mark KarlinMK: You describe in your open "letter to a new minority," that far from the election of Barack Obama ushering in an era of a post-racial society, it seems to have intensified white racial anxiety. Bill Maher did a riff the other night that Barack Obama has to be the Jackie Robinson of presidents, turning a blind eye to disrespect and racial resentment that directly confronts him. Did his election force the cockroaches of racial animosity to come out of the woodwork?

TW: I think it did. It's not that the election of Obama caused the racism of course, but it certainly gave those with deep seated racial resentments and anxieties a new opportunity to articulate those under the guise of mainstream politics. The election of a man of color challenges the fundamental notions that many whites have long had, about what a leader is supposed to look like. And since this particular president is not only a man of color, but also has a name that seems "exotic" to some, and had a father who wasn't even African American, but rather, straight off the continent of Africa itself, the sense of otherness surrounding him is even greater. He stands as something of a symbol of the transition from the old, white narrative of America to a new, multicultural, multiracial norm - and it's a norm for which many, many whites simply are not prepared and about which they are not pleased.

MK: Why is it that so many poor whites--let's say in Appalachia--feel closer to white billionaires, who care nothing about their economic plight, than poor minorities, who share their economic travails?

TW: First, because they have been subjected to intense racial propaganda for generations, which has sadly left them clinging to what DuBois called the "psychological wage of whiteness," which means the psychological advantage of believing oneself superior to someone, anyone of color, even though you are suffering economically. Unfortunately, when your real wages and working conditions are poor, the weight of the psychological wage intensifies and can become a crutch to which one clings in moments of insecurity. Also, the U.S., more so than elsewhere, has cultivated the notion that "anyone can make it" if they try hard enough. Unlike the feudal monarchies of Europe, where the poor and working class knew full well they were never going to be on top, here, the reigning ideology--the secular gospel if you will of America--is that individual initiative trumps all. If one believes that, then it becomes less likely that one will problematize the rich, or criticize them, or seek to challenge them, because at some level, even the poorest persons hope that one day they will be one of them--or if not rich, at least comfortable. So class consciousness becomes harder in such a place, and yet, when one's class position doesn't rise very much from generation to generation (and for many whites it still doesn't), they content themselves with their perceived superiority relative to persons of color, and settle for that, rather than fighting for a better deal for all workers, white and of color.
One way the whites' fear of a changing America manifests itself:

Is the Era of White Privilege Nearing an End in the US?

By Tim Wise[W]henever someone deigns to mention any of those matters--like the national legacy of enslavement, Indian genocide and imperialistic land grabs--the rebuttal to which we so often retreat is as automatic as it is enraging: “Oh, that was a long time ago, get over it,” or “Stop living in the past,” or “At some point, we just have to move on.”

In other words, the past is the past, and we shouldn’t dwell on it. Unless of course we should and indeed insist on doing so, as with the above-referenced Independence Day spectacle, or as many used to do with their cries of “Remember the Alamo” or “Remember Pearl Harbor.” Both of those refrains, after all, took as their jumping-off point the rather obvious notion that the past does matter and should be remembered - a logic that apparently vanishes like early morning fog on a hot day when applied to the historical moments we’d rather forget. Not because they are any less historic, it should be noted, but merely because they are considerably less convenient.

Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but when millions of us have apparently chosen to affiliate ourselves with a political movement known as the Tea Party, which group’s public rallies prominently feature some among us clothed in Revolutionary War costumes, wearing powdered wigs and carrying muskets, we are really in no position to lecture anyone about the importance of living in the present and getting past the past. All the less so when the rallying cry of that bunch appears to be that they seek to “take their country back.” Back, after all, is a directional reference that points by definition to the past, so we ought to understand when some insist we should examine that past in its entirety, and not just the parts that many of us would rather remember.

Truth is, we love living in the past when it venerates this nation and makes us feel good. If the past allows us to reside in an idealized, mythical place, from which we can look down upon the rest of humanity as besotted inferiors who are no doubt jealous of our national greatness and our freedoms (that, of course, is why they hate us and why some attack us), then the past is the perfect companion: an old friend or lover, or at least a well-worn and reassuring shoe.

If, on the other hand, some among us insist that the past is more than that--if we point out that the past is also one of brutality, and that this brutality, especially as regards race, has mightily skewed the distribution of wealth and opportunity even to this day--then the past becomes a trifle, a pimple on the ass of now, an unwelcome reminder that although the emperor may wear clothes, the clothes he wears betray a shape he had rather hoped to conceal. No, no: the past, in those cases, is to be forgotten.

Vast numbers of us, it appears, would prefer to hermetically seal the past away in some memory vault, only peering inside on those occasions when it suits us and supports the cause of uncritical nationalism to which so many of us find ourselves imperviously wedded. But to treat the past this way is to engage in a fundamentally dishonest enterprise, one that, in the long run (as we’ll see), is dangerous. Unless we grapple with the past in its fullness--and come to appreciate the impact of that past on our present moment--we will find it increasingly difficult to move into the future a productive, confident and even remotely democratic republic.
Comment:  To reiterate, many Americans want to return to the 1950s, or the Gilded Age, or perhaps the antebellum South. In other words, a time when white men clearly ruled and women and minorities knew their place. That's what all the Tea Party talk is about and why so many conservatives hate Obama. He's the living embodiment of the end of white privilege.

For more on white privilege, see Racist Costumes = White Privilege and Whites "Sick of the Race Card."


Anonymous said...

The piece I'm struggling with is what white is NOW. Given how many of us are light complected, what does it mean to be "white"? Are we talking culture or race? Or something else? Obviously, there are millions of us who could pass as "white" and some do, and many of us don't. If this is confusing for us (how do we figure out whose Native in the crowd at a pow wow?), what does the "White" population do with it? All that said, the racism on the loose in North America is appalling, and likely to intensify this election cycle.

Anonymous said...

wrt: the picture, "niggar" must be Teabonics at work. Maybe they thought

But it is nice to see that the "master race" is anencephalic.

More to the point, I don't think white privilege is ending per se; if it is, it's just being replaced with rich privilege.

Anonymous said...

Oops! I meant "Maybe they thought Dave Chappelle's sketch was the right spellcheck."

Either way, Dave Chappelle was *puts sunglasses on* a real punny guy!


dmarks said...

Maher is an anti-Muslim bigot, and has declared that handicapped people don't have any worth as human beings. Is he really any credible source?

Anonymous said...

I could care little to nothing about Obama's skin color. It is his party and what he represents that i dislike about him.

One black guy was running for president and I sort of liked his speech such as saying "i had my toys already" which he was meaning to say that he is not running to gain something for himself, like obama seems to of done already by spending more money than any of the presidents combined, but in hopes to better the future for his kids as well as our kids

Obama in office, and use wanting him out, is not a race issue but it is Obama crying out racial remarks so it becomes harder to get rid of him...he represents cowards and America is not a place of cowards.

We need another Ronald W Reagan in our office no matter what color his skin might be.

Rob said...

Maher apologized for his 2001 remarks about disabled children, DMarks. So that's old news, even though you keep bringing it up in your feeble attempts to paint liberals as bigots equal to conservatives.

As for his anti-Islam comments, a fair number of liberals as well as conservatives think we should continue killing "terrorists" and civilians using drones and other methods. Including Obama. So I'm not going to avoid quoting Obama or Maher just because they're wrong on some issues.

Rob said...

As for the economy, Anonymous #3, this posting sums it up:


With stocks soaring, housing up, unemployment down, will Democrats ride Obama's coattails into office?

The economy has pretty much turned a corner. Obama's policies such as the stimulus and health care reform are setting in, the Feds low interest rates are working. The payoffs so far seem to be a huge reduction in the deficit, way ahead of schedule. The stock markets are at their highest in history. Unemployment way down to 7.5%. Seems the economy under Obama has really made a huge comeback after the disastrous policies of the Republicans from 2001-2008. What is even more amazing is that he did this without the help or input of Republicans.

I don't hear anyone saying 8 more years like the GW Bush years, do you?

Rob said...

More to the point, did you criticize George W. Bush for his massive increases in federal spending? If so, you're about the only conservative who did. If not, your dislike of Obama is suspect, to say the least.

Every Tea Party Republican who criticized Obama but not Bush for the same failings is a hypocrite and possibly a racist. There's no other explanation for treating two presidents with similar policies so differently.